The seasonal shift

Published 7 September, 2017

Weight Watchers reveals the date when the seasonal shift begins to weigh on Brits’ minds… and bodies

  • September 18th predicted as the day when Brits’ lifestyles change
  • Brits frustrated by the weight of autumn – with 40 per cent of Brits gaining more than 5 pounds
  • 54 per cent agree they are more conscious of their bodies in the summer months – with Brits citing they will ‘just deal with’ autumn winter weight gain in the New Year
  • Weight Watchers launch expert Guide to Owning Autumn to help Brits maintain healthy lifestyle and mindset during the cooler months

5th September 2017 – Working with psychologist Professor Geoff Beattie, leading weight management brand Weight Watchers has identified that 18th September is the date when the seasonal shift begins to impact Brits’ lives.

The ‘Autumn Outlook Algorithm’ has been determined by Professor Beattie based on external factors that influence behaviour: weather, nature, light, societal timetables, food, TV, clothing, media, behaviour, mood, exercise, outdoor and time pressures (see Appendix).

Professor Beattie comments: “In meteorological terms, autumn begins on September 1st .  Astronomers, on the other hand, date autumn on the basis of the autumnal equinox when night and day are roughly the same length – in the UK, this will occur on the 22nd September. However, neither of these dates may correspond with our psychological thoughts and feelings that autumn is now starting. There are a number of factors that may influence how we feel about whether autumn has begun.”

The predicted date is supported by consumer research commissioned by Weight Watchers of 2,500 Brits, which finds that two in five (40 per cent) Brits will gain more than 5 pounds during the autumn (44 per cent of men vs. 35 per cent of women). With only one in five Brits (21 per cent) saying they will not put on weight during the cooler months.

Many Brits (43 per cent) are frustrated by the weight that they put on during the autumn months – women more so than men (53 per cent women vs. 35 per cent men). This figure rises to two in three (66 per cent) of mums with primary aged children surveyed. Although 13 per cent of each sample group said they’d ‘just deal with it in January’.

To help counteract the seasonal shift, Weight Watchers has released its Guide to Owning Autumn, encouraging Brits to embrace Autumn and set goals to continue a healthy lifestyle.

The online Guide has been launched ahead of September 18th and is curated by health, food and wellness experts, as well as social media influencers and real-life Weight Watchers members. It is designed to equip people with tips, tricks, motivation and support to get through a period that is often associated with relaxing healthy habits set during the summer months, when weight-loss is typically higher on the agenda. 

Professor Beattie comments: “The transition between seasons can have a major effect on our psychological state, including our mood, our behaviour and our patterns of thinking. All of which can result in changes to our behaviour; from what we reach for to eat, to our propensity to exercise, which can result in an increase in our weight.'

“Of course, there is also the very positive side to the start of autumn. As summer departs and there is a dip in temperature this provides many people with a sudden burst in energy, free from the sluggishness of summer. This gives many people the push to try new things with added zest.”

As we transition into autumn, many believe there is less pressure to keep their weight down because they can wear layers and baggier clothing (32 per cent gen pop and 53 per cent mums). This is in contrast to the warmer months, whereby more than half (54 per cent) are more conscious of their body because it is on show more – rising to 68 per cent of women and three quarters of mums (76 per cent).

Two in five (39 per cent) say they eat more in the cooler months, with half (48 per cent) turning more regularly to comfort foods and more takeaways (19 per cent), and drinking more alcohol (19 per cent). Just one in five (21 per cent) disagreed with the statement that they felt less motivation to go to the gym or workout during the cooler months.

With the change of season coinciding with the end of summer holidays – for adults and children alike – Professor Beattie comments: “The end of the school holidays signals the end of summer for many people, and not just families with children. This has an immediate effect on psychological aspects of most of our lives in a number of very obvious ways – time becomes more structured, traffic in cities can become more hectic with the school rush leading to higher levels of stress, and there is now less free time available to do social and recreational activities.”

For mums in particular, their own health is often put on the backburner at the expense of busy family schedules: three in five (58 per cent) say that their child’s routine impacts their own ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with half (48 per cent) saying they find it hard to find the motivation to exercise around their child’s busy schedule.

Zoe Griffiths, Head of Programme and Public Health at Weight Watchers, comments: “For many Brits, the shift in season will bring with it a change in outlook – a recognition that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is going to be more difficult. Our research found that to keep track of their health and fitness in the cooler months, Brits want access to cheaper healthier foods, guidance on healthier foods and on fitness, as well as support from friends and family.

“With food, activity and wellbeing deeply engrained in the Weight Watchers philosophy, we have designed the new Guide to Owning Autumn to provide motivation, support and easy-to-follow guidance to help members and non-members throughout the cooler months.”

The Weight Watchers Guide to Owning Autumn is available online and will be updated regularly throughout the autumn months. The Guide will include easy home workouts for cold days, budget-friendly healthy recipes, tips for accessible mindfulness and more. For more visit:

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For more information please contact the Weight Watchers press office on 020 7100 7100 / 0784 219 304 or Learn more about the WW weight-loss programme.